Speaking an event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
“We remember the victims of the systematic and planned attempts by the Nazis and their collaborators to murder all the Jews in Europe. They exterminated six million Jewish people – two thirds of all those in Europe and over one million in Auschwitz alone.
“Today we remember the other victims of Nazi persecution including Roma, Sinti, Polish and Slavic people as well as the disabled, LGBT and Black people. Trade unionists and political opponents of Nazism too.
“Concentration camps were designed to make human beings feel superfluous. To convince prisoners they were nothing before they were murdered.
“But today we remember them as human beings who died, in all their differences, in all their humanity, courage, fear, strength and fragility.
“We meet to learn, remember and reflect because the evil of anti-semitism is still with us. Holocaust denial is still with us – five per cent of adults in the UK deny it happened, and one in ten say it was exaggerated.
“Holocaust denial is a poison, a deliberate, insidious evil wherever it manifests itself. We remember too those who suffered genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
“UNISON will always stand against anti-Semitism, racism, discrimination and hate wherever it raises its head.
“Anti-Semitism is racism and has no place in the Labour movement. Prejudice and hate is on the rise and must be challenged by all of us.
“But more than anything, on this day, we remember the precious lives lost and the deep grief felt by those who survived.
“We honour their memories by committing ourselves to challenge hate, to ensuring that ‘Never Forget, Never Again’ aren’t just words, but a call for action.”